Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has publicly lobbied Donald Trump to bend toward his policy interests, scoring a major victory last year in helping to convince the American president to relocate the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But a recently published report reveals that he privately sought Trump’s help regarding his business interests as well.
According to a ProPublica investigation, Trump directly asked Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to consider Adelson’s proposal to open a casino in his country, a long a dream of the businessman who sees Japan as an exceptional, untapped market.
The report documented Abe’s sudden support in December 2016 for a controversial law allowing licenses for regulated casinos, a foreign concept in Japan, just weeks after his first meeting with the president-elect in Trump Tower in New York. Adelson secured a Trump Tower meeting for his potential business partner on a Japanese casino and resort during the transition period within days of Abe’s visit.
In February, just two months after the long-stalled bill passed the Japanese Diet, Adelson, Trump and Abe were all in Washington at the same time, meeting one another separately over lunches and dinners.
It was during those February meetings, after the two leaders departed Washington for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, when Trump told Abe about Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands and its interest in Japan, according to the ProPublica report, which cites Japanese media as well as independent sources.
Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp.and its rivals are competing for a limited number of licenses to build casinos in Japan in the wake of the country’s move to legalize such facilities. Japan is viewed by the industry as one of the world’s last untapped markets, which could be worth up to US$25 billion per year.
Adelson and his wife contributed US$20 million to Trump’s presidential campaign and gave US$5 million to help fund his inaugural festivities.
Source: GMB / Jpost.com